I have been asked several times how I keep my fresh grown garden lettuce so crisp. Many have a hard time w
ith lettuce totally wilting to a little pile of nothing somewhere between the garden row and the back door to the kitchen. And for a long time this was my issue as well. Then I stumbled over an urban farmer in Florida who grows his greens under the palm trees in his very small front sandy yard as well as his neighbors yards that he borrows. It was last summer when I found this awesome guy, and I wish I could remember his name because I am sure there are plenty other things I could learn from him, plus it would be nice to give him credit for this post. I'll search for him and will update when I find him. But for this post, I'll just call him "Mr. Florida Farmer".
So, Mr. Florida Farmer had a few secrets up his sleeve on how to clip, wash and keep your greens nice and crunchy for many days after harvest. I have put his technique to use and can verify it definitely works!
If you are like countless others and have issues keeping your garden greens dinner plate ready you should try Mr. Florida Farmer’s technique too. And like me, I am sure you will start growing more greens once you can actually enjoy them for dinner.
Here is Mr. Florida Farmer’s step-by-step EASY technique for crispy garden greens, complete with pretty green pictures.
Pick your greens early and bring inside immediately: The greens are sweeter when picked early in the morning, before the high sun has a chance to beat down. I don't know why, but it is true, they really are sweeter picked early! And I am sure you know to take the outer leaves so the inners can continue to grow.
Gently plunge greens into a big bowl of ice water. Stainless steel works great because it gets really good and cold. Sometimes I just use my clean sink. Make sure there's plenty of water and lots of room for the leaves. Soak for about 15 minutes.
Gently swish leaves to loosen dirt as in the video below. I know it probably looks silly that I am showing you how to "gently swish your greens", but these babies are a lot more fragile than one would think, especially the micro-greens that I grow. But it's worth it. They are so mild and sweet!
Gently pull the greens out of the bowl and toss the dirty water down the drain. Now...do it again. Put more ice and water in the bowl, add the greens, soak 10-15 minutes, then gently swish back and forth to finish rinsing grit and dirt off the leaves then pull them out of the ice water. Spin the leaves dry by putting a small handful in the spinner and spin, spin, spin.
Just as a side note: I ordered a cheap spinner at Amazon. You can get fancier ones, but this one shown above was about ten bucks and for now it works just fine. Man, I am always surprised at how much water you get off your greens when you spin them. Here is a picture of how much water came off those greens in the salad spinner. Isn't that crazy?
Now that you have spun your greens, gently toss the almost totally dried leaves in a single layer on a kitchen towel for about 20-30 minutes.
Lastly, put the greens in a bag and include air, like this.
TA-DA!!! You now easily have crispy salad greens that will keep in your fridge for about a week...or two! Enjoy salad munching Y'all, and flip more dirt and eat your greens!
How many times did I used the word "gently" in this post? Way too many, but I just wanted you to realize that you can easily damage your greens by not being...well... gentle!
If you do not grow delicate lettuces and micro greens because it is just too hard to keep them fresh, this post is for you. So go ahead, spread those seeds. It is safe now.